Your home can take a serious beating when a big storm hits and finding a roofing contractor you can trust isn’t always easy. Storm chasers and other door-to-door salesmen often peddle dubious deals that can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and create serious headaches. The Better Business Bureau recommends doing your research to avoid getting ripped off by an untrustworthy roofer.
Every year, homeowners research the trustworthiness of roofing contractors with the BBB more than 2 million times, more than any other industry. Last year, the BBB received more than 7,600 complaints about roofers from unsatisfied customers.
Repair costs from hail and wind damage from violent storms can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. When you’re spending that kind of money, it’s worth it to take your time and find a roofer you can trust.
One company receiving hundreds of complaints this summer is American Shingle & Siding Inc. The company has solicited homeowners, often door to door, across the South. A common sales tactic is to tell the homeowner that their roof is severely damaged and that their insurance company likely will cover the cost. The homeowner is then required to sign a contract saying that they will hire American Shingle for the job.
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Unhappy homeowners have complained that they signed over the check to American Shingle and the job was never completed, wasn’t completed on time or was poorly executed.
The company recently announced that it is going out of business, but the BBB warns that the roofer and its suspect business model might resurface under a different name.
When looking for a roofer you can trust, the BBB recommends that homeowners:
Start Your Search with the BBB. In addition to having Reliability Reports on tens of thousands of contractors, you can also rely on the bureau’s Accredited Business Locator to find trustworthy roofers in your area.
Verify the business meets all state and local requirements including being licensed, insured and bonded. Also ask the business for references from recent jobs. Confirm whether or not the roofer will be subcontracting the job or relying on his or her own employees.
In the wake of a storm, fly-by-night repair businesses will solicit work, often door to door, in unmarked trucks. They might require advance payment and make big promises that they won’t deliver on.
Get at least three bids. Beware of low-ball estimates that may potentially balloon over time or foreshadow shoddy work to come.
Beware of any contractor that uses high pressure sales tactics or requires full payment up front. Also avoid contractors that require you to get the necessary permits.
Make sure that the full scope of the work is explained in the contract including cleanup and disposal of waste. All verbal agreements need to be included in the written agreement. Pay close attention to the payment terms, estimated price of materials and labor and any warranties or guarantees.
For more advice, visit us online at http://www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-home/.
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia & the CSRA, Inc. serving 41 counties in Central Georgia. This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB by phone at (800)763-4222 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.